Sunday, May 12, 2013
Finding Bigfoot: Does It Help Or Hurt?
Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" show has done for Bigfootery what "Ghost Hunters" has done for ghost hunting. Popularized it and made people less ashamed to admit they do it.
Many years ago, when I was ghost hunting, it was a shy hobby. One did not talk to others readily about what she did in her spare hours. The show "Ghost Hunters" came along and made people curious and opened their minds to the concept of looking for proof of ghosts and suddenly it was hip to be a ghost hunter.
Then, groups began popping up everywhere, causing trouble at historic sites, sneaking into graveyards, scaring away hotel guests with meters and theatrics. Money was to be made in the budding field and even more people piled on until it became an industry instead of a field of study.
Such is the case with "Finding Bigfoot." It has opened people's minds to the concept of these people in our forests and their obvious shy qualities. It has also made an industry out of bigfootery, with teams popping up everywhere, mimicking the Finding Bigfoot team like ghost hunters imitated TAPS.
And, they perpetuated great ignorance for the subject, such as the assumption of Bigfoot being an ape or animal and having such a low level of interaction that tree knocks and hollers are the only way to communicate.
I give Finding Bigfoot awesome kudos for putting together a team that is very indicative of the types we find in this field of study. Matt puts himself across as the Bigfoot businessman, Ranae as the skeptic, Bobo as the playful buddy, and Cliff as the intellectual child-like curious researcher. I am pleased to see Ranae allowed to voice her doubt and logic-based process. When others are howling with excitement over a twig snapping, Ranae is bringing them back down to earth. Cliff is educating folks on the other wildlife sharing the outdoors and running toward Bigfoot instead of away.
The cast for the show is what it's all about. Their methods are rather archaic and sometimes downright humorous, and the routine is exceedingly tedious (just like Ghost Hunters), but we really watch it to see how those 4 people react to a new location and witnesses.
I think we'd all agree that nighttime investigation and witness reports are the big draw on this show as far as entertainment factor. I'd like to see their attitudes about Bigfoot change to include language and intelligence instead of chest-pounding ape methods.
Once we realize that Finding Bigfoot is slightly educational but mostly entertaining, we can move on to look at the characters who make up the cast and the work they are doing on their own time to better their knowledge and understanding. The value is really in the cast and putting them in new locations -
Ranae Holland: received her Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, where she was selected for and worked with the distinguished Alaska Salmon Program. For over a decade, Ranae has conducted fisheries research throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Ranae continues with her efforts as a dedicated field biologist, and she regularly works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as private entities. Her most recent field research efforts are focused on steelhead behavior in the Umpqua River basin in South Central Oregon.
Matt Moneymaker: Whether we like his personality or his reputation or not, Matt has relentlessly sought field experience and witness interviews. The forming of BFRO was a very large step in helping to give a reporting place with accounts in one place for all to view.
Cliff Barackman: An educated man, teacher, musician, and outdoorsman, Cliff in his spare time has taken on an enormous find - a huge trackway called the "London" prints. This vast amount of casted footprints have given him an enormous store of information on Bigfoot individuals in Oregon. He doesn't just do this for TV. His free time is spent hiking and camping, often times alone, to get a better chance to encounter and understand these beings
James "Bobo" Fay: Bobo's genuine enthusiasm about Bigfoot has taken him to all corners of the earth in search of encounters. This outdoorsman and fisherman has no problems going into the thick of the most uncomfortable places in the hopes of understanding the puzzle that is Bigfoot.